On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy
What a Recent Misadventure Taught Me About the Need for Adventure and Excitement in Life
“There’s virtually no way to get excitement and adventure through a job,” people would tell me, “If you want those things, you’re better off trying to get them through non-work activities.” I would begrudgingly nod in agreement as relatively safe and predictable jobs seemed more salient in my mind. Until this day, I never thought I would experience the type of exhilaration that comes along with some of life’s challenges so I never knew, before, what I had been missing out on.
Over a couple of weeks ago, I experienced how difficult it is to steer a car back onto the freeway, more specifically on a curved freeway connector, when the car had drifted onto rough terrain. My attempt to do so resulted in a 360 degree spin at, what felt like, the speed of the Disneyland teacup ride. Although I’ve had previous exciting moments as a driver, my ability to act calmly under an emergency had never been tested like this before. Fortunately, I over-steered into the hillside instead of plummeting the car down the slight incline on the other side (I’ve eye-witnessed a roll-over under similar circumstances). This resulted in the loss of one rear tire and everything that held it there though I didn’t realize it at the time. No other vehicles were on this quiet stretch of highway in that moment and the car handled as if it had a flat tire, so I decided not to stop on the connector as this seemed like matters could become worse if another vehicle came rushing around the bend. With my destination nearby, I opted to drive it off the exit ramp and check… whereupon I stepped out and was surprised to see what was missing.
What I’m about to say is going to make me seem like a bit of an oddball, but I know I’m not the only one who would react this way. In hindsight, I just keep thinking about the thrill of the mishap! Does this seem nonsensical? Plenty of life decisions made by others serve to illustrate how what at first seems nonsensical actually makes sense given certain personality-related underpinnings. For example, I’ve encountered bright, young people who’d gone into military service stating that they preferred that lifestyle over the office lifestyle. I also know that seeking a thrill due to boredom is one of the reasons why employees decide to engage in theft at the workplace – sources: Griffin, R. W. & Anne O’Leary-Kelly, A. (2004) and Guerin, L. (2013). In contrast, I know others who appreciate safe and predictable work.
There’s a wide range of ways to conceptualize what life is supposed to be like and this will naturally be different for different people. One of my immediate family members says, “The life of an adult is supposed to be boring and repetitive.” Yes, some people like “boring!” However, my inner voice says, “Life is supposed to be exciting and full of adventures!” and it has grown even louder now. Having often mulled over how different people react to various situations and how this comes down to variation in proneness to anxiety, fear, and excitability (encapsulated by the Big 5 personality trait, neuroticism), I hold no judgement towards those who feel comfortable and secure in situations I find boring and, conversely, distaste for risky activities.
On the other hand, if you are stuck in a boring job for the time being, finding adventure in your non-work life is certainly one way to cope. However, there are a variety of opportunities out there, and I believe in continuing to strive for the life you want. Damn the odds! My personal philosophy is that, even if you don’t ultimately get what you want, the process of striving, even by itself, is important. Here are some good starting points for thinking about work that offers some excitement and adventure:
After a bit of life drama, we’re back to the regularly scheduled weekly blog posts here. At this time, I’d also like to thank all the people who’ve given me a thumbs-up, high-fives, and positive assessments of my potential as a stunt-driver! To my readers: Live life to the fullest and embrace the problems and challenges in your way. They will lead you further down on your path to self-discovery and help you identify your calling in life.